District Governor Garry Shearer was at our Rotary meeting this morning and had the pleasure of congratulating Cam Scott for his contributions to The Rotary Foundation. Garry pins him with a sapphire-studded Paul Harris Fellow pin and thanks Cam for contributing at least $2,000 to "our charity." Garry observed that Cam has been with Vancouver Sunrise since the club's beginning in 1987.

President Ann-Shirley Goodell opened the meeting a few minutes early and kept it moving, to allow time for the DG's presentation and the board meeting with the DG which followed. We had another full house, with 18 members and 5 guests. AG Tom Smith was with us again, as was our Youth Exchange student Luisa Godoy, and Steve McGrandle. We also welcomed Barry Thorsness who was referred to us by a mutual Rotary friend in Kelowna. Barry is a Vancouver businessman and founder of a not-for-profit that funds schools and scholarships in Africa, particularly Malawi.

Club news

Milie Taing announced that the Opera Pro Cantini performance planned for November 24 has changed. Instead of "Rigoletto" we will see "A Masked Ball" (or whatever the Italian name is). It's a Sunday at 7 pm at 17th and Main. If you'd like to join us, just email Milie for details.

Nominations are due by January 1 for RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) to be held in April in North Vancouver. This is a highly-successful weekend leadership training program for students in Grades 10-12. If you know of students who would be good candidates, get their names to Milie soon.

At yesterday's board meeting, our board voted to send $1,000 from the club to ShelterBox for emergency relief after the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

Today's program 

Governor Garry was introduced by Assistant Governor Tom, who told us that Garry was born in Edinburgh but has been here long enough to lose his accent. He retired from business in 2008 and was a charter member of the Tsawwassen club in 1992.

Garry described what he called "a Rotary moment" from his training session in San Diego last January. In a jam-packed convention setting with 534 incoming DGs and hundreds of other RI dignitaries, the flags of all the Rotary countries (about 200 of them) processed through the hall. At the end came the flags of the then-current RI President from Japan and the incoming President from the USA. To see side-by-side the flags of those two nations, formerly adversaries in World War II who have become, in a single generation, friends and partners in many ways, was a strong testament to the peace which Rotary espouses. 

Garry left us with 3 messages:

1. Membership is important and this year's emphasis is on retention. If we can engage members in our service work, they are more likely to remain Rotarians.

2. The Rotary Foundation does great work all over the world and relies on contributions from Rotarians and friends of Rotary like Bill Gates for its funds. 100 percent of the incoming DGs made contributions in January and Garry challenges us to also reach for 100 percent contributions by our members. 

3. The District 5040 Conference will be May 23-25 in Squamish at the new Railway Museum complex. All Rotarians are encouraged to attend. In addition, there will be special programs for youth of high school and university ages at a bargain price of $175 including dorm accommodation and meals at the new Quest University.

Garry closed his remarks with a song to urge us to "Get Aboard" (the train) for the conference in May. I understand he's now being drafted by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. Earlier, however, he gave us a thought to guide us: "Rotary happens at the club level." 

That's it for now. See you next Wednesday, which will be a business meeting.